Politics + Society – Articles, Analysis, Opinion

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It’s time to reengage Reuters/Enrique de la Osa

Only through engagement will Cuba change

The resetting of US Cuba relations has been a long time in the making but without the Alan Gross case it is likely it would have happened sooner. I think both sides have thought long and hard about what…
Fidel Castro during a visit to Washington in 1959. U.S. Department of State

Cuba and US: the long, twisted tale of two countries

The action by President Obama to move toward the normalization of US-Cuba relations is long overdue. The US ruptured ties with Cuba in early January 1961, under President Eisenhower, not only in the context…
Does this look like community policing? Flikr/Jamelle Bouie

With identity crisis in police, more Fergusons inevitable

Recent social unrest across the country protesting the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson and the police chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York has reopened wounds and revealed deeply…
New norms for what goes on inside this room. image from www.shutterstock.com

Using science to improve the practice of interrogation

The release of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program documents the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) against terrorism…
This tee shirt cuts to the chase Reuters/Jason Reed

Americans are deeply divided about torture

The Senate report on torture found that the “enhanced techniques” used by the CIA were ineffective as a mechanism for gathering intelligence. In fact, the report stated there was no actionable intelligence…
Will the feds raid this Christmas tree? Rick Wilking/Reuters

Goliath vs. 24 Davids: federalism and legal marijuana

Abraham Lincoln said that those who shape public opinion exert an even greater influence than judges and lawmakers. In recent years popular sentiment – on issues like marriage equality and legalization…
Are these members of the Nusra Front fighting in Syria still loyal to Al-Qaeda? Hosam Katan/Reuters

Was Al-Qaeda a winner or loser from the Arab uprisings?

At first glance it appears that the Arab uprisings have strengthened Al-Qaeda and similar groups that fly the black banner. With the possible exception of Tunisia, the rest of the “Arab Spring” countries…
This crowd wants their president out David W Cerny/Reuters

Prague’s velvet: wearing off 25 years later

The United States had just gone through a bruising election, but in Congress Democratic and Republican leaders gathered to unveil the bust of Vaclav Havel, the playwright and first post-Communist Czech…
Will this relationship get better or worse? Petar Kujundzic/Reuters

US-China: a chill in the air

Foundation essay: This article is part of a series marking the launch of The Conversation in the US. Our foundation essays are longer than our usual comment and analysis articles and take a wider look…
A negotiated end to Syria crisis might allow this child to go back home. Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

How will the Syrian War be resolved?

The most serious attempt to bring the Syrian regime and representatives of the opposition together around a negotiating table together took place at the 2014 Geneva II peace talks. The talks were based…
St Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch asked grand jury to do investigation POOL New/ Reuters

Explainer: The grand jury in the Darren Wilson case and beyond

Now that the grand jury has decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year old man, there remain many questions about this grand jury and generally…
Will there be brotherly love in Philadelphia next September? Giampiero Sposito/Reuters

Pope Francis’s ‘American problem’

In late November, the Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis is going to visit the United States of America for the World Meeting of Families that will take place in Philadelphia at the end of September 2015…
Just three of the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the Boko Haram in northern Nigeria Stringer/Reuters

‘Where is the government of Nigeria?’

‘Am I still a citizen of Nigeria? The soldiers are watching or running while thousands are being slaughtered.’ – Mohammed, a graduate student at the University of Maiduguri speaking at a food distribution…
Ferguson after grand jury results announced Jim Young/Reuters

Ferguson: a tale of two competing narratives

Before the ambulance even came to collect the body of 18 year-old Michael Brown from the streets of Ferguson, it was clear that this case would be tried in the court of public opinion. Was Brown a “gentle…
Seattle protests the Ferguson grand jury decision. Jason Redmond/Reuters

Ferguson is not a special case

Last week on ABC’s This Week, President Obama said, “My own experience tells me race relations continue to improve,” and “There’s no way to say race relations are worse than 20, 50 years ago.” It’s impossible…
Anti-government messages on Mexico City streets: “Phony government that shoots at students.” Tomas Bravo/Reuters

Murder and the Mexican state

Most murders in the United States are well hidden. Popular tourist cities like Chicago, New Orleans and Washington D.C. have homicide rates substantially higher than the national average. At times they…
They have family values too Charles Mostoller/Reuters

Family values and deportation don’t go together

Not so long ago, I sat across the table from Teresa, age 25, in a migrant shelter right across the border from Nogales Arizona, her tired face glimmered through the veil of tears as she described her experience…
What difference will President Obama’s executive order make for this family? Sandy Huffaker/Reuters

The president’s executive order: what difference will it make for immigrants?

Editor’s note: On November 20, President Obama announced a plan - through an executive order - to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation if they meet certain criteria. His move has…